Abdelmawla Ibrahim was only 16 when a stray bullet pierced his left leg, shattering his bones and forcing doctors to amputate it above the knee.
“I was very upset, I hated myself, hated my life, I was very depressed,” said Ibrahim, now 24 years old.
But the Syrian man, who lives in the city of al-Bab near Aleppo, said his outlook on life changed after getting fitted with a prosthetic.
This inspired him to get certified as a physiotherapist specialized in prosthetics.
Ibrahim now works at the al-Bab Centre for prosthetics, which is funded by a UK-registered charity Hand in Hand for Aid and Development, that provides medical aid across Syria.
He designs and develops the prosthetics, drawing on his experience from wearing them. He also provides physiotherapy, and pep talks, to other amputees who visit the center.
According to the United Nations over 1.5 million Syrians are now living with permanent impairments caused by the conflict, including 86,000 who have lost limbs.
The recently married Ibrahim said his dream now is to continue his education abroad to gain more knowledge to help others who have lost their limbs.
Voice of America – English